Ovulatory infertility is the leading cause of infertility, causing at least 30% of cases. Having an anovulatory cycle (a menstrual cycle where your body doesn’t release an egg) is actually very common, about one-third of regular cycles are anovulatory! While this isn’t always a problem, it does make it harder if you are trying to conceive.
If you’re using OvuSense to track your cycles and notice that your charts are often looking anovulatory, or if you’ve got irregular cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome or luteal phase defect, then changing your diet to optimize ovulation may be the answer.
Diet and Ovulation: What’s The Connection?
Our menstrual cycles, including if and when we ovulate, are governed by a complex collection of reproductive hormones. The delicate balance of these hormones is closely related to the other systems in our bodies. That’s why sleep, exercise, stress and diet can have such a big impact on our ability to ovulate and to conceive.
In fact, about half of ovulatory infertility cases can be attributed to diet and lifestyle!
Our diet affects our hormones in many ways, for example through its effect on our blood sugar levels. Insulin, one of the main hormones that controls our blood sugar levels, works very closely with our reproductive hormones. When our diet throws off our blood sugar balance and insulin levels, this, in turn, throws off our reproductive hormones. That’s why having high blood sugar levels (even if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes) makes it more difficult to conceive.
But it’s not just through our blood sugar that our diet affects ovulation. There are lots of other ways that diet affects our hormones, like by influencing our gut health, inflammation and the amount of oestrogen in our bodies.
Which Foods Affect Ovulation?
In some way, everything we eat affects ovulation and our fertility. Evidence shows that the amount and type of carbs, protein and fats we eat all directly impact on ovulation. The amount of energy (calories) and fibre we consume also has an impact. Research even shows that certain vitamins and minerals, such as folate and iron also seem to play an important role.
Eating to support ovulation can not only decrease time to pregnancy but has also been shown to reduce chances of miscarriage and pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes.
Where Can You Learn More?
If you’d like to know more about diet and ovulation, the Foodbaby Optimising Ovulation online course teaches you how specific food affects your cycle and to what to eat to support ovulation. During the course, you will be coached through making diet changes that will optimise your fertility and help you get pregnant faster. By the end of the course, you will be able to see changes if you’ve had irregular cycles and you will feel confident in your diet and in control of your fertility.
Amara is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Credentialled Diabetes Educator and expert in fertility nutrition.
She founded Foodbaby after her own struggles to start a family and now helps women regain control of their fertility by making changes to their diet and lifestyle. Rather than using a traditional one-on-one approach, she utilises technology to create courses and resources for women around the world.